The next eclipse is a total eclipse of the sun on March 8-9, 2016, caused by a supermoon at the new phase. The path of totality for that eclipse will pass mainly over the waters of the Pacific Ocean. Only those along that long, narrow path can see the total solar eclipse. The path of totality starts at sunrise in the Indian Ocean to the west of Indonesia, and then goes eastward across the Indian and Pacific Oceans until it ends to the west of North America at sunset. A much larger swath of the world gets to see varying degrees of a partial solar eclipse. Hawaii and Alaska will see the partial eclipse at late afternoon on March 8, while south and eastern Asia, Korea, Japan, north and western Australia will see it on the morning of March 9. Want to learn more about eclipses? Check out the links below.
The video below – from the beautiful website shadowandsubstance.com by Larry Koehn shows the path of the March 8-9, 2016 total solar eclipse. The wider circle indicates who will see the partial eclipse.
Get ready for a total solar eclipse visible from continental U.S. in 2017. It’ll happen on Monday, August 21, 2017 – with the path of totality cross from coast to coast – the first total solar eclipse visible on U.S. soil in a generation. The total eclipse will begin as the moon’s dark umbral shadow touches down in the northern Pacific and crosses the USA from west to east through parts of the following states: Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, and South Carolina. The moon’s penumbral shadow will produce a partial eclipse visible from a much larger region covering most of North America. You can find more about the eclipse from EarthSky partner Fred Espenak, here.
Fortnight (approximate two-week) separation between solar and lunar eclipses. A solar eclipse always takes place within one fortnight of any lunar eclipse. For instance, in 2016, the total solar eclipse on March 9 comes one fortnight before the penumbral lunar eclipse of March 23. The annular solar eclipse on September 1 occurs one fortnight before the penumbral lunar eclipse of September 16.
Somewhat rarely, a solar eclipse can occur one fortnight before and after a lunar eclipse. This will next happen in the year 2018:
July 13: Partial solar eclipse
July 27: Total lunar eclipse
August 11: Partial solar eclipse
Somewhat rarely, a lunar eclipse can come one fortnight before and after a solar eclipse. This will next happen in the year 2020:
June 5: Penumbral lunar eclipse
June 21: Annular solar eclipse
July 5: Penumbral lunar eclipse
Bottom line: Dates of solar and lunar eclipses in 2016, and a preview of the great American eclipse of 2017.
Bruce McClure has served as lead writer for EarthSky's popular Tonight pages since 2004. He's a sundial aficionado, whose love for the heavens has taken him to Lake Titicaca in Bolivia and sailing in the North Atlantic, where he earned his celestial navigation certificate through the School of Ocean Sailing and Navigation. He also writes and hosts public astronomy programs and planetarium programs in and around his home in upstate New York.